We all want our children to develop healthy eating habits that help them lead healthy lifestyles as adults.
Those of us who gained unhealthy eating habits as children know first hand how hard it can be break these patterns in adulthood. This handy resource provides helpful information regarding what children need to grow up healthy and strong. In addition, understanding a parent’s roll in what your child eats is important.
Take a look at these suggestions from our health contributor Liane Cox Tomich.
What Is My Role?
- You need to optimize your child’s eating. . . not control it.
- Feeding distortion starts early.
- Children follow your attitudes and behaviors. . . have a positive emotional and social view of food.
- Allow children to feel in control of their eating. . . but set respectful limits.
- Children are erratic about their eating.
- Children will waste food.
- It may take 15-20 times before a child swallows new food.
- Participate in family activities.
- Get children involved. . . food preparation, growth, clean up.
- Just because a child is lean does not mean he/she is healthy.
- Minimize sodas—it replaces calcium-rich drinks and harms bones.
- Keep caffeine to a minimum.
- Adolescents often say they are not hungry in the morning—make sure they eat!
- Everyone needs to start the day with breakfast—children can concentrate better and learn better!
How Do I Encourage My Child To Eat Healthy Foods?
- Keep fruits and vegetables in sight. –Place bright, colorful produce in plain sight for children to grab easily. –Keep small bags of fresh vegetable snacks at eye level in the refrigerator.
- Buy dried variations of fruits and vegetables. –It doesn’t need refrigeration and doesn’t make a mess in backpacks. –Add dried fruits to trail mix or fresh fruit salads. –Dried beans and peas count as vegetables, so look for crunchy dried soybeans, peas and chickpea snacks.
- Canned fruits and vegetables are an option. •Add pureed vegetables to foods.
- Buy in-season fruits and vegetables—foods are tastier and filled with more nutrients.
- Keep staples ready-to-eat—keep cooked rice and pasta ready so you can heat and serve in a lunch, add to a soup or serve with an entrée.
- Use a slow cooker or stir fry foods.